Newest Buy Points Offer
Posted 16 January 2017 - 09:09 PM
I'd compare whatever trip you're looking at using points for vs. the cash fare for that route.
Based on a dummy booking, it looks like the points are purchased at around 2.75c/point and can be redeemed for sleeper at 2.9c/point. There is a bit of savings there. Note, however, that senior discounts do not apply to points redemptions, so that 2.9c/point drops down to 2.76c/point. (AAA/NARP would put it at 2.81c/point.)
Personally, I'd only buy them if I had a trip that I wanted to purchase now and the cost for the points was either significantly (10% minimum) lower than cash (after any applicable cash discounts) or I just needed a few more points in order to get to my desired redemption. There's no guarantee that Amtrak won't change the program later on, throwing any calculation of savings out the window. I wouldn't advise paying for points solely to stock up on them.
Posted 17 January 2017 - 05:52 PM
In the old days, points value varied based on where you were traveling and Amtrak's boundaries. They could be a significant deal. Now, the BEST they are worth is $0.029/per point and you lose on discounts. Sometimes, they are worth less - a lot less.
I used to stock up on points at bonus time for myself and my wife. I no longer even read the Amtrak emails once I read the bonus percentage in the subject line. They are not worth it.
Posted 05 February 2017 - 12:11 PM
Also remember that a points reservation doesn't earn points...which means that you'd also want to take into account your status, etc. For example, I've got the fee card and I'm Select Executive so the trade-off would be a loss of 7-8 points per dollar spent (partly offset by a gain of one point from the CC spend with Points.com). In a very literal sense, YMMV, but for me the loss of those earned points more or less eviscerates any advantage to buying the points that would've existed (since I'd be trading off what amounts to around a 20% rebate in the process). I would also frankly discount the value of the points as bought by about 10-20% to account for possible issues with the system (their failure to implement the 10% fee as indicated in the initial description), the fact that there are really no decent transfer partner options, and program change risk.
My threshold for buying points now would probably be a 50% bonus offer (which we saw once or twice in the past). At that point I would give it a good, hard look.
Edited by Anderson, 05 February 2017 - 12:15 PM.
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)
Posted 17 February 2017 - 11:25 PM
Since AGR 2.0 was introduced we no longer buy any points. When we pay in advance to purchase an item we had better see a significant benefit as the risk is totally on the buyer. The seller gets paid for the future and there is no guarantee that the plan will stay the same or that the points will ever be redeemed. I wish that I owned a business where people paid me today for a product to be received down the line. We will just channel more of the more common things that we purchase through the shopping portal for points
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